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Maharashtra polls: Will economic slowdown and joblessness impact poll results


Mumbai, Sep 23: With the Opposition parties trying to corner the BJP government at the Centre after its massive win in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, economic slowdown and unemployment can quickly turn into a headache for the saffron party when they go to the people to seek re-election.

Mumbai being the financial capital, a debate over the deepening economic slowdown can become particularly difficult for the ruling BJP in Maharashtra.

Devendra Fadnavis

The Congress and the NCP will raise issues like farm crisis, "economic slowdown" and unemployment in the run-up to the assembly elections in Maharashtra, scheduled next month.

The opposition party claimed the government is on its way out due to "slowdown and lockdown".

Economic slowdown and unemployment

PM Modi's second term in office has been clouded by the economic slowdown and job growth. Asia's third largest economy expanded at 5% in the June quarter, its slowest pace in more than six years, official data showed last week.

To make matters worse, the unemployment data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in May confirmed the pre-election leaked report's claim of joblessness in 2017-18 being at a 45-year-high of 6.1 percent.

The data has given adequate fodder to the Opposition parties to attack the ruling BJP in Maharashtra as well as Haryana. The twin issues of slow growth and high unemployment can be their poll plank, while it is to be seen if the BJP can combat this.

Is Article 370 the poll agenda for the BJP?

Pitching the Maharashtra assembly polls as a referendum on the Narendra Modi government's abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which conferred special status on Jammu and Kashmir, BJP president Amit Shah asserted confidently that Devendra Fadnavis would continue as the chief minister after the elections.

"I want to tell all BJP workers that our work doesn't end at the removal of Article 370, our work starts now. It is our target to take this country forward on the chapter of nationalism and progress," he said.

Hitting out at the Congress and NCP, he said, they were "shamelessly" opposing the abrogation of Article 370.

In 2014 polls, both the Sena-BJP and the NCP-Congress alliances ruptured ahead of elections.

After the four-way contest, the BJP emerged as the single largest party, followed by the Sena (63), Congress (42) and the NCP (41).

The Sena later joined the government but with a bruised ego.

While the BJP and the Sena are yet to arrive at a consensus on the seat-sharing formula, the Congress and the NCP have already sealed the deal to contest 125 seats each.

Maharashtra will go for a single-phase elections on October 21. Counting of votes will be taken up on October 24.

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